Conti GT Speed Convertible-01

You’re looking at the world’s fastest four-seat drop-top car, the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible that will make its debut at the upcoming 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0 litre W12 engine, this candy coloured Bentley will do 0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 325 km/h, top down. Peak torque of 800 Nm is achieved at just 2,000 rpm – can you imagine being pinned to the seat by that mega wall of twist?

In common with all W12-engined models, the GT Speed Convertible features an energy recuperation system. Together with a close-ratio, quick-shifting eight-speed auto transmission, this has resulted in a 15% improvement in fuel economy and CO2 emissions over the first generation Speed, with a commensurate increase in tank range.

Conti GT Speed Convertible-03

Bentley says that the latest ME17 engine management system, capable of performing 180 million individual calculations per second, provides enhanced turbocharger control and torque management, enhancing driveability. The permanent all-wheel drive is biased 60:40 in favour of the rear.

While it’s more tractable than its Speed predecessor, switching the gear selector to ‘Sport’ brings on sharper throttle response, gear-shifting at higher rpms and faster ‘block shifting’ (8th gear to 4th). The enhanced performance is accentuated by a “glorious baritone snarl” from the exhaust.

Chassis wise, the self-levelling suspension is set 10 mm lower than the standard Conti GT convertible. There’s also stiffer suspension bushes, uprated anti-roll bars and recalibrated Servotronic steering for the topless Speed.

Conti GT Speed Convertible-05

It may be supercar-fast, but this is a luxurious Bentley at the core. Crewe says that the four-layer hood ensures high levels of refinement and insulation, and since it’s tested in all conditions from -30°C to +50°C or more, it resists even monsoon-force rain and maintains comfortable, draft-free warmth even on the coldest days. A neck warmer comes useful on cooler days.

Brilliant, but not in this colour please! Our man Jonathan recently had a go at the Bentley GTC and Mulsanne – click here to read his account.